West nile virus
West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus: Origin, Transmission, 23 Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

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What is a West Nile viral infection?

A West Nile viral infection is an infection derived from a virus carrier mosquito. Most infections do not cause symptoms. In rare cases, the West Nile virus can cause serious diseases of the brain (encephalitis) and membrane of the brain (meningitis).

How common is the West Nile virus infection?

Not all people bitten by mosquitoes will be infected with West Nile virus, older persons over 50 years of age are more at risk.

West Nile Virus Origin

West Nile virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1937. Until 1999, the virus was found only in Africa, Asia and Europe. 

The West Nile Virus first entered the United States on August 1999, in the Metropolitan city of New York. A total of 63 people suffer from inflammatory brain symptoms (encephalitis) and inflammation of the membrane around the brain (meningitis) as well as 5 others passed away.

The Virus is widespread in other states. In just three years, the virus spread to 27 states. On November 26, 2002, viruses were found in about 3747 cases, 214 people died.

West Nile Virus Transmission

West nile virus transmission
West Nile Virus: Origin, Transmission, 23 Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention 2

The West Nile Virus, transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. In fact, all types of mosquitoes can be intermediaries, especially Culex type mosquitoes. In addition to mosquitoes, birds also serve as their place of infection, and this bird will be the main instrument in the spread of this virus.

The life cycle of this virus moves from bird to bird by the intermediate mosquitoes, and the virus breed as it rotates on this cycle. However, this virus does not spread from person to person or from infected birds to humans without mosquito bites.

What are the West Nile virus symptoms?

Most people have no symptoms. Others have the most common symptoms of flu, including:

  • Cough,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Fever,
  • Loss of appetite, and
  • Joint and muscular pain.

Other symptoms include

  • Rash,
  • Fatigue,
  • Nausea, and
  • Vomiting.

As for signs and symptoms of serious infections. In the rapid time the virus causes serious neurological infections, one of which includes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Serious infections may also include infections and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), inflammation of the spinal cord (West Nile poliomyelitis) and acute flaccid paralysis-sudden weakness in the arm, leg or respiratory muscle. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Sore eyes,
  • Headache,
  • Stiff neck,
  • Difficulty walking,
  • Weakened body,
  • Convulsions,
  • High fever
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Faint or comma
  • Tremor or muscle jerking
  • Signs and symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Partial paralysis or sudden weakness.

There may still be other symptoms that are not listed. If you have questions about the signs of illness, consult a doctor.



Most people can recover from the West Nile virus without treatment. Even people who have encephalitis or meningitis only need supportive therapy with infusion and pain relievers.

Interferon therapy

Scientists are investigating an interferon-type therapy of immune cell therapy, as a treatment for encephalitis caused by the West Nile virus. Some research suggests that the person receiving the interferon can heal better than those who do not receive the drug.

West Nile Virus Prevention

Avoid mosquito bites

The simplest and most effective way to West Nile virus prevention is to avoid mosquito bites of any kind, anticipating the place of mosquito breeding and eradicating mosquitoes in the house as well as in the surrounding environment.

When out home, it is recommended to wear shoes, socks, trousers and long-sleeved shirts to avoid potential mosquito bites.

Drain the water

Things that need to be done are routinely drain water in bath, swimming pool, and other water shelter. Should regularly change the water in the bird’s drinking, flower pots, empty places that may inadvertently store water, such as used cans, used tires, children’s toys, banana stem, etc.

Use mosquito Repellent

In addition, it is also recommended to use mosquito Repellent (repellent) which contains the active ingredient 30-50% DEET (N, N-diethylmetatoluamide) especially at dawn and in the afternoon when it is the active time of mosquitoes to roam and to bite.

Read also: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Symptoms, Facts, Spread, Prevention, and Weaknesses

  1. WHO.
  2. West Nile virus meningoencephalitis.
  3. West Nile Virus: An Historical Overview

Last Updated on May 12, 2020 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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